Saturday, February 25, 2012

Italian Memories

I sometimes forget that we kept a blog documenting our trip to Italy in 2009. I stumbled across it again today and was reminded of how much fun we had travelling and seeing more of the world together. We are so thankful to have been able to visit such a beautiful country. Here's a bit of trivia you might not know: I was already pregnant with Jet before we even arrived in Italy but didn't know it yet. It wasn't until our stop in Rome when we finally were able to find a pregnancy test (and had to figure out the results - in Italian! Good thing for online translating dictionaries!) So it was there, in Rome, in a nunnery (ironic), where we found out that our lives would soon change forever. I will never forget that moment, and that, out of all the many amazing memories, will be why Italy will always have a special place in my heart. 

If you're curious about the country or just want to take a walk down memory lane with us, here's the link:


(No, we were not trying to match on purpose but we somehow end up doing so a lot)


And here's a little video action of us in the Coliseum:

Maple-Oatmeal Scones

These are honestly some of the best scones ever. To save myself some time, I just form them into flattened balls instead of rolling them out and cutting them. This makes the recipe that much easier and quicker to make. And although they're not the healthiest things since they contain butter, they're a good splurge for once in a while.

So yum!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Velvet Chicken

This is such an easy and tasty Asian chicken recipe, try it!

This is definitely a secret weapon in cooking up Asian dishes. This makes a major difference in cooking with superior dark soy sauce vs. regular soy sauce. The flavor is much more robust and potent and gives the dish the color you see in restaurants. I always use this brand but any dark soy sauce should do.

Just throw everything into the pot

Then the whole chicken to poach

Voila! Done. The meat is so tender and flavorful. It was so soft the skin was coming off but that's okay because you chop it up into pieces when serving anyway so the aesthetics of it won't really matter.

I'm not a big gadget/tons of small appliances fan but this is a must have for every kitchen, especially if you're trying to eat clean. We love brown rice and use this all the time; I LOVE my rice cooker! You can get these cheap anywhere; it's so great in helping to make quick and easy dinners, you just throw however much rice you want in, and here's a nice little trick: fill it with enough water so that when you stick your index finger in to touch the top of the rice, water should come up to about the first line of your finger. The rice cooker will do its thing while you go on doing yours and typically you'll all be done at the same time and even if the rice finishes first, there's a setting on it that will keep it warm so it's a win-win situation! I really can't say enough about how invaluable it's been to me.

 Served the chicken on a bed of mixed rice and some blanched broccoli sauteed with some fresh garlic and hoisin sauce - delicious! And what's great is that you can keep the liquid and cook up more chicken in it again later.

Jet loved and devoured it

His mouth was too full to smile:)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Latest Happenings

How does each week go by so quickly?! Here's what's been going on lately:

We had a little celebration for Jet's 2nd birthday.

I can't believe he:

Is now him:

He blew out the candle himself! And is pretty happy about it.

I admit that it is fun to splurge on non calorie-conscious foods, especially at parties, but I wanted to challenge myself this year for Jet's little b-day party to provide food that was healthy and still tasty so we had:
(*FYI, if you want the recipes for the stuff you see, just click on the item name and it'll link you to the recipe).

(I used multi-grain bread flour besides just whole-wheat for added nutrients)

Organic tortilla chips with pico de gallo

Fresh fruit

(The recipe is originally meant to be bite size but I made them into fingers for easier dipping)

Veggies and herb dip.
Isn't it funny how we typically dip fresh, healthy veggies into fat-laden dips? But this dip is made from yogurt cheese (basically strained non-fat yogurt) and is packed with lots of fresh herbs that actually tastes really good.

Gelatine cut-out hearts.
These are so easy to make and so much better than the dyed, sugary stuff you buy in the stores. I used white grape and cran-raspberry juice but you can do this with whatever suits your fancy.
To make these, just use the ratio of 1 cup fruit juice to 1 packet of gelatine. I doubled the ratio for two different flavors. Boil the fruit juice, mix in gelatine, pour into pan, refrigerate until firm. When ready to serve, dip bottom of pan into hot water to loosen, then use whatever cookie cutter shapes you want to cut out jello bites.

*Do not make the frosting the night before! Trust me. Since it's meringue-based, it will start to liquefy so make the frosting the day of and just an hour or so before serving. It tastes really good but is sort of high-maintenance since time is this frosting's enemy. The angel food cake bakes out pretty small as well which is great if small is what you're going for, but if you're looking for a hefty sized cupcake, don't go with this recipe.

I think strawberries are my favorite fruit.

Then to balance all that healthiness, for Jet's actual birthday we brought him out to good ol' Mickey D's to get him his favorite: french fries! He ate all the fries and nothing else:) He was so cute, sitting in the twisty chairs, waiting patiently for Daddy to come back with his food - I love this kid!

I have been having so much fun cooking and baking:

The same chicken I served at Jet's party. 
These things are great and so easy to make and packed full of nutrients.

Baked fries. 
Just cut up the potatoes however you want, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes, pat dry, then toss in egg whites whisked with sea salt and fresh ground pepper (and any herbs you want to use), then bake at 425 degrees, flipping them halfway through and bake until golden - yummy!

The good-for-you chicken nuggets and fries:)

I am LOVING my bread book - if you haven't picked up a copy yet, do it. Now. You will love me for telling you to do so.
I made these rosemary flax baguettes yesterday - so good! Once you get some essential tools, it is so, so easy, you won't ever want to buy bread at the stores again!

This cake is delicious! Since it's flourless, it's very dense and rich but that means a little goes a long way so you can serve smaller portions and this thing just melts right in your mouth, it almost has a mousse-like texture and will please any chocolate lover and is good for anyone needing to avoid wheat. Make the cake the night before and make the frosting the day of serving, this will help making it more manageable since there are quite a few steps to it but is worth it!


And of course our days are filled with enjoying sweet moments with the munchkins:

I wish I looked this cute (and happy!) upon just waking up

We had a bunch of snowfall over the weekend and Jet wanted to "scoop" it

He never ceases to amaze me with all his different hammy expressions

When I need to be efficient on time, I'll put Roxy's little bathtub inside our soaker tub and give them both a bath at the same time. They both get a kick playing with each other and that means accomplishing two baths at once - woo hoo!

The cutest little girl

The coolest little boy

Is this not the cutest little cry face?
So many people say they think Roxy looks like me, but I think she looks so much like Matt when he was a baby, what do you think?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday Jet-Jet!

I can't even believe that it was 2 years ago that our son was born. He came 4 weeks earlier than expected and the total time of labor and delivery was only about 7 1/2 hours long. He was ready to come out and take on the world! 

We are constantly praising the Lord for blessing us with such a wonderful child; he is always making us laugh and melting our hearts with his sweet little ways. 

We love you so much Jet-Jet!

Loves construction machines

 Loves bath time with Daddy

Loves his bear and blanket

Always wanting to help

Is innovative:)
(I come into the kitchen and see that he's figured out how to reach things, by pulling over a chair - yikes!)

Is a good big brother

Is a ham

Is independent

Is more than we could have ever asked or hoped for!